It’s the summer holidays in Scotland and that means, rain or shine, we are on a mission to eat as many ice creams as possible over the next seven weeks. Ice cream spells holiday. It doesn’t have to be hot and sunny (although it definitely helps), it doesn’t have to be fancy gelato (although I prefer it), but it does have to be cold, sweet and delicious, and, crucially, it has to be daily in occurrence.
My relationship with ice cream goes back a long way. There is the infamous time that my godmother foolishly allowed me to eat a rich chocolate cone in the back of her husband’s new car as a toddler. There are memories of eating ice cream from a glass bowl, cracking the ice magic on top, liberally decorated with hundreds and thousands in front of ‘Ski Sunday’ after a roast dinner (my dream meal). Licking green frog ice lollies in a force 8 gale on a memorable sailing trip to France that only got as far as the channel isles. A FAB bought for me by my Grandad in the park. The Knickerbocker glory that was so tall I had to stand on my chair to eat it. Working next door to Janetta’s as a student in St. Andrews during the Open and praying the queue wouldn’t be too long at the end of my shift. Eating a cone the size of my head whilst on holiday in California. Watching the shock on my son’s face as he experienced his first ice cream headache as a baby. The happy list of memories goes on, and there are many pictures of me and my family eating ice creams on my Facebook page to prove it.
Then there are the ice cream tragedies. Metaphors for the sudden ability of life to switch from pleasure to pain in an instant. The horror of getting to the bottom of a Cornetto to find there is no chocolate. Being made to have a mini-milk when I really wanted a Twister. The chocolate falling off your Magnum. Accidentally letting the wooden lolly stick touch your teeth (can’t even write about that without cringeing). Getting caught ordering a Screwball from the ice cream van with forbidden bubble gum in it. Laughing as my husband dropped his ice cream cone on the floor as he left the shop in Greece, and then recoiling in horror as he picked it up, scraped off the grit and ate it anyway.
Even when the sun wasn’t shining each ice cream memory links me to a special place and time in my life. They are the reason why I never say no to an ice cream request during the holidays. It is my parenting achilles heel and my son knows full well that I will cave at the sound of the ice cream van coming down the street on a warm summer’s evening, even if he hasn’t had his dinner yet. It’s why I bought him an ice cream maker for his birthday, and why, by the end of the summer I will have put on several unnecessary pounds.
I won’t care though, because for me ice creams are what summer memories are made of. They come in every flavour, and I will continue to cherish each lick and sticky drip, especially on a sunny Sunday with my son as we wait in anticipation for the return of his Dad for a few precious weeks of new family adventures (and ice creams) ahead.
My Top 5 Ice Cream Spots in Scotland:
- Janetta’s in St Andrews – holds an ice cream shaped place in my heart for many reasons and still the best in my book.
- Knockraich Farm, Fintry – local dairy farm and home to Katy Rodger’s ice cream which is best enjoyed in their gorgeous courtyard cafe.
- Colpi’s, Milngavie – been making the same Scottish Italian ice cream for over 100 years. It only comes in one flavour, and that’s delicious!
- Nardini’s, Largs – amazing art deco cafe by the sea serving fantastic ice cream (come back to Glasgow again please, we miss you!)
- The Pokey Hat, Oban – great ice cream, sure, but makes it onto the list for having the best name!